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Turkey to portray Diaspora Armenians as 'sectarians': scholar

Turkey to portray Diaspora Armenians as 'sectarians': scholar

PanARMENIAN.Net - Seven years have passed since Hrant Dink’s assassination and those who planned his murder remain free. While the search for justice continues with a second round of trials, there seems to be insufficient political will to uncover the truth, Taner Akcam, Professor of Armenian Genocide Studies at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, writes.

"Hrant Dink was killed in revenge for the assassination of Talat Pasha, the architect of the Armenian Genocide. Everything about his murder suggested a “vengeance operation” for the 1921 conspiracy to assassinate Talat Pasha in Berlin. This, for example, accounts for the decision to murder Hrant Dink in public rather than to kidnap him, kill him, and throw his remains in some remote location—the way all the other “unknown perpetrator” crimes have been committed in Turkey. The conspirators deliberately chose to come up from behind and to shoot him in the head on the street, in front of Agos, the newspaper he edited. The operation mirrored precisely how Talat Pasha was killed. His attackers wanted revenge for the murder of Talat Pasha, and they did so by targeting Hrank Dink.In the Shadow of 1915: Reflections on Hrant’s Assassination,"Akcam writes in a piece titled "In the Shadow of 1915: Reflections on Hrant’s Assassination".

"Ninety years of state-sponsored denial have so blinded the public that we cannot conceive of the relationship between the 1915 genocide and the murder of Hrant Dink. But while the Turkish government has pushed us to forget the events of 1915, state officials have not forgotten. Turks grow uneasy at the mention of “genocide,” and calls for “genocide recognition” cause us to flee in terror before some unknown retribution. We resist using Hrant’s death as an opportunity to face up to history, to see the connection between that history and the killing of an Armenian newspaper editor. We are made to forget Hrant although he is the key—the key to the 40th chamber in the Arabian Nights fable, the one that others do not want opened, the key that is given to the heroes of those tales. We have a treasure chamber in our old houses where all of our secrets are kept. And Hrant is the key to that room. If the Hrant Dink murder case is ever solved, the secrets behind the establishment of the Turkish Republic will be revealed. But, sadly, in the present government, there is neither the courage nor the will to furnish the key, because the government is heir to these “state traditions,” and the “keepers of its secrets”," he writes.

Ancam predicts that as 2015 approaches, Turkey will attempt to create an atmosphere of “reconciliation.”

"Appearing ready to resolve the Armenian issue, Turkey will portray Armenians in the diaspora as uncompromising “sectarians.” For this purpose, the Turkish state will undertake a search for so-called “Good Armenians”—and it will find them! It will use these puppets as a counter-weight to the “intransigent,” “belligerent,” and “uncompromising” Armenians in the diaspora. They will seek to pit their “Good” Armenians against the “Bad” Armenians of the diaspora. And they will use Hrant for this purpose, too. They will find the criticisms Hrant leveled at the Armenian Diaspora and use them without hesitation. Hrant’s own words will be exploited as a part of a new wave of hostility toward the Armenian Diaspora," he writes, warning: "Do not be duped by this cynical scenario."

"Hrant Dink was murdered because he wanted to deconstruct Turkey’s founding myths. Those who planned the murder—the real culprits—have received promotions and praise for doing so. The sensitivity the government expressed over the confiscation of Armenian property was never shown toward the lives of Armenians. On the contrary, they oversaw the annihilation of a people. And the situation today is not so different! 1.5 million-plus-1," Akcam writes.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres and deportations, involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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